Members ask Chamber to rethink annual meeting location

Thu, 09/23/2021 - 1:45pm

The following was copied to The Block Island Times:

An open letter to the Block Island Chamber of Commerce.

Dear Block Island Chamber of Commerce
Board of Directors,

As members of the Block Island Chamber of Commerce, we write to ask that you delay your upcoming annual meeting. We ask that you do this out of respect for the community of businesses and organizations below who have stood together for almost two decades against Champlin’s unending attempts to expand their docks and business operation into the public recreation area of the Great Salt Pond.
This request comes as the Block Island community was dealt its most recent blow last week when the Rhode Island Superior Court ruled to allow a dishonestly mediated agreement between the Coastal Resource Management Council (CRMC) and Champlin’s to stand.

The mediated agreement between Champlin’s and CRMC, which would allow Champlin’s to expand 156 feet into the Great Salt Pond and infringe on the navigational channel and town mooring field, flies in the face of the community’s stalwart opposition to the expansion. The agreement was negotiated without the participation of the Town of New Shoreham, Committee for the Great Salt Pond, Block Island Land Trust, and Block Island Conservancy, despite assurances from the CRMC’s attorney that it would not happen without these intervenors who all have legal standing in the court case.
Rhode Island’s Attorney General, Peter Neronha, called this agreement:
“non-public, non-transparent, entirely unsupported by mediation... The CRMC could have stood up for the people of Rhode Island and defended the initial Court decision... Instead they bent to expediency and were rolled.”
The expansion proposed by Champlin’s is a flagrant example of a private corporation taking public recreation space for their financial gain and is something we feel the business and non-profit organization community must stand together against. We are a community committed to integrity, decency, and respect for the island, its people, and its natural resources we all enjoy.

We respectfully urge that you, who as director and board members of the Chamber of Commerce represent the businesses and non-profit organizations below that have contributed to making Block Island the special place it is for decades, stand with us and take the simple action of delaying your meeting until this is behind us. At that time, we can then work with the new owners of Champlin’s to continue to protect the Great Salt Pond for all to enjoy.

1661 Inn, Narragansett Inn & Oar Restaurant
Ballard Hall Sales Group
Block Island Community Sailing
Block Island Conservancy
Block Island Farmer’s Market
Block Island Realty
Block Island Residents Association
Block Island Yacht Club
Darius Inn
Jessie Edwards Studio
Lila Delman Real Estate
Mutt Hutt
Ocean View Foundation
Pond & Beyond Kayak
Sullivan Real Estate
The Nature Conservancy on Block Island